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Damage to water pipes this winter could top £7 million every day warns the ABI

Burst pipe and leaking water damage is costing freezing Britain. The warning comes from the Association of British Insurers (ABI).


According to the ABI the damage caused by frozen and burst pipes and leaking water could top £650 million – that is over £7 million every single day.

Last winter, the coldest for 30 years, insurers paid out £644 million to homeowners and firms following damage caused by escape of water.

The damage means households could suffer from flooding and costly repairs.

To reduce the risk of frozen and burst pipes during this winter, the ABI is advising householders to:

• Ensure that loft water pipes and water tanks are insulated. • Know where your stopcock that turns off the incoming water supply is, and make sure that it works. • If you will be away from the home on holiday or on a Christmas break ensure that it is kept as warm as possible. If you are away for a long time it may be worth draining your cold water system.

If a pipe freezes:

• Thaw out the pipe using gentle heat such as towels soaked in warm water or a hairdryer. • Remove furniture and carpet (where practical) near to the frozen pipe. This will minimise damage if the pipe bursts.

If a pipe bursts:

• Turn off the water at the stopcock. • Switch off the central heating to avoid further damage. • Open all taps to drain the system. • Contact your home insurer for advice. Most provide 24 hour emergency helplines that will arrange for repairs to be carried out as soon as possible.

Nick Starling, ABI’s Director of General Insurance and Health, said: “Freezing winter weather may have arrived early this year, but insurers are ready to deal with the misery and disruption it can cause. As well as offering advice on how to keep your home safe this winter, insurers are poised to come to the aid of homeowners and businesses that have to face the often considerable damage that a burst pipe can cause.”

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3 thoughts on “Damage to water pipes this winter could top £7 million every day warns the ABI

  1. I’m not even sure which website I’m on, but at the moment my central heating and hot water boiler is not working. I didn’t worry because I have a British Gas Homecare 200, for which I pay £311 p.a. Now I discover I can’t even get through to a customer service line as it keeps cutting off. So I am not even on a list in a queue, and consequently my boiler will not be fixed before Christmas. In your opinion is it better to pay such a lot of money to a local plumber, who would at least come when required. Your advice would be appreciated.

  2. In these sorts of conditions getting any heating engineer whether local or national will take time, it’s unlikely to be same day or even next day. I have HomeCare 200 and would personally stay with it as when I have needed to to call on their services they’ve always delivered. We have to be realistic in these servere conditions, be persistent on the phone and get some temporary heating in the meantime.

  3. We have the Bristish Homecare 400 for which we pay £331.63 p.a. Yesterday my husband and I come home to the results of a burst pipe, a partially callapsed kitchen ceiling (about 3mx 3m) with water pouring and flooding the kitchen. We also had no joy getting through to customer service but we were able to getting a local plumber to help. Today we managed to get through but the earliest they could come out is the 11th of January.We have since contacted our home insuarance and are awaiting quotes for the repairs. We have decided to have the local plumber carry out the work required. Whilst I understand this severe weather is streching British Gas services to the limit, if we can get hold of a plumber surely they could also have a pool of plumbers/heating contacts which they could call on.

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